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Preet Gill MP Comments on Birmingham's High Streets Lost a Year's Worth of Sales During the Pandemic

Birmingham lost 46 weeks of sales between March 2020 and September 2021, the most of any city aside from London, according to Centre for Cities’ Cities Outlook 2022 report.

During the pandemic, Birmingham has been particularly hard hit compared to other parts of the UK, with additional restrictions placed on retail and hospitality for several months in 2020 with the localised Covid tier system.

The report from Centre for Cities claims that repeated lockdowns in Birmingham have been costly due to the reduction of footfall from office workers and the shrinkage of its large catchment area of shoppers due to restrictions.

According to the report, vacancy rates in Birmingham city centre increased by 5.7%, the 7th highest percentage change in the UK. Nationally, the number of commercial units falling vacant during the crisis rose to 2,426 compared with an increase of 1,374 between 2018 and 2020.

Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham, said: “During the pandemic, businesses in Birmingham did the right thing and supported us when we needed them most. The impact of this loss in sales shows just how badly our city has been hit. Birmingham has been neglected for too long and it’s time our city gets its fair share of funding.

“My constituents value their high streets and won’t accept the slow decline the Tories have overseen in the last 11 years. While inflation soars and businesses face a Covid hangover, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are too distracted with their own scandals to meet the challenges facing our city.

“During the pandemic, I launched the ‘Save Our Banks’ campaign in Harborne, supporting the Co-operatives ‘Unlock the High Street’ campaign so that my constituents across Quinton, Bartley Green, Harborne and Edgbaston, continue to have access to cash and have a central high street to visit which they can be proud of. The Government needs to stop the dither and delay and deliver on the levelling up agenda it promised.”

To save our high streets, Labour has pledged to cut business rates and level the tax playing field for high street businesses and online firms.

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